Waterstones go back to their roots after rotten Christmas
With Borders now a distant memory, Waterstones pretty much have the high street to themselves as specialist book retailers. But Christmas sales were shockingly bad with like-for-like sales in the five weeks to January 2 falling by 8.5 per cent and managing director Gerry Johnson heading for the exit door as a result.
The HMV-owned company have announced that they going back to basics and trying to be a ‘local’ book store again. For local people presumably.
That means less emphasis on flogging celebrity tie-ins and showbiz autobiographies, an area where Waterstones regularly fail anyway thanks to the deep discounting of the supermarkets.
It also means more shelf space to titles that are pertinent to the town or city where they are being sold, making more of the expertise of the chain’s staff while strengthening their online and digital offerings, with ebooks here to stay.
But is it too little too late? After all, if you can now browse through books online before buying them online, usually with a significant saving into the bargain, will people bother to traipse down to their local Waterstones for a mooch through the shelves?
So, crimefighters, what do you lot think? Can any of you even read? What number are we thinking of? Six? Nope. Try again.